2024 Land Cruiser Returning to Roots
By imparting design cues from earlier models and underscoring its offroad credibility, Toyota hopes to find success in the ultra-crowded SUV market.
After three years away from the U.S. market with its range-topping SUV, the Land Cruiser, Toyota unveiled the redesigned 2024 Land Cruiser in Salt Lake City on Aug. 1. The model, long known around the world for its durability and offroad credentials, arrives with the SUV competition hotter than ever. The company said the new model will start at around $55,000.
“For 2024, Land Cruiser returns to its origins with a heritage-inspired design paired with the legendary capability and durability it is known for,” said Toyota Group Vice President and General Manager Dave Christ.
The new Land Cruiser has just one engine option, the i-Force Max turbo 2.4-liter four-cylinder hybrid that generates 326 hp and 465 lb-ft (630 Nm) that is routed through an 8-speed automatic transmission. All models are equipped with what Toyota classifies as a “full-time four-wheel-drive system” with a lockable center differential and an electronically controlled 2-speed transfer case to impart high- and low-range capability. Also standard is a lockable rear differential to apportion power in a 50/50 ratio across the rear axle.
The hybrid system’s 48-hp electric motor is powered by a 1.9-kWh NiMH battery. All three grades of the Land Cruiser are rated to tow up to 6,000 lb. (2722 kg).
Asked about the hybrid system, Christ ─ after gently pointing out that Toyota does not use the term “mild hybrid” ─ told SAE Media that it is part of the company’s broad-spectrum approach to carbon neutrality. “With the same raw materials, we can build one battery electric vehicle, six plug-in hybrids or 90 hybrids like we have here,” he said. “And over the life of the vehicles, those 90 hybrids will keep 37 times more carbon out of the atmosphere” than the single BEV.
As was suspected prior to its uncloaking, the 2024 Land Cruiser uses Toyota’s TNGA-F global truck platform that only two months ago brought the 2024 Lexus LX and GX. Those are certifiable luxury vehicles, though, and while fitted with all manner of safety tech, the Land Cruiser hews more closely to its rough-and-tumble heritage, before the SUV wars of the 1990s saw it turn into a near-luxury vehicle.
This Land Cruiser is what already has been sold around the globe as the Land Cruiser Prado. At 193.7 inches (4920 mm) long, 84.2 inches (2139 mm) wide and 73.2 inches (1859 mm) tall, it is 4.4 inches (112 mm) narrower and 1.2 inches (30 mm) shorter than the 200-Series Land Cruiser from 2021 the model replaces and is more compact than its Lexus GX counterpart. It also has off-roading specs that make it a little more capable than the GX, with approach/breakover/departure angles of 31-, 25- and 22-degrees versus 26-, 23- and 21-degrees for the GX. It offers 8.7 inches (221 mm) of ground clearance.
For offroading, the Land Cruiser has a crawl control that works as a low-speed cruise control (at one of five set speeds) so the driver can focus on steering. That and downhill-assist control take advantage of the multi-terrain monitor that displays obstacles on the available 12.3-inch touchscreen.
Toyota said higher-strength steel with blanking and laser welds make the new ladder frame more rigid than the outgoing model. The new model features double-wishbone front suspension with twin-tube shocks and a multi-link layout with coil springs at the rear. Electric power steering and 17-inch disc brakes all around round out the handling duties.
In a release about the new model, the company said that its CALTY Design Research studio worked with global developers to bring authenticity back to the sheetmetal. The body is notably square, with A-pillars moved rearward to enhance the utility aesthetic but also to provide better outward visibility when driving offroad. At the reveal, CALTY president Kevin Hunter said that visibility was a main goal and is also helped by a lower beltline for the side windows and the center of the hood, which has been scooped out. “That taper to a narrow face and chiseled front design has a direct link to the 70 series," he said.
The base 1958 Grade trim, limited to 5,000 vehicles, features round LED headlights, crawl control, LED fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels with 245/70 all-season tires, an 8-inch multimedia monitor, heated steering wheel, heated fabric seats and a 2400-watt AC inverter.
The mid-grade Land Cruiser trim includes front stabilizer bar disconnect, rectangular LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels (20-inch wheels are available) with 265/70 all-season tires, Multi-Terrain Select, Multi-Terrain Monitor, a 12.3-inch multimedia monitor and faux leather heated and ventilated power seats.
The Land Cruiser First Edition, limited to 5,000 vehicles, adds roof rack and rails, front skid plate, round LED headlights, tailgate light, mudflaps and leather heated and ventilated seats.
All trim levels include Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, the highlights of which are pedestrian and motorcycle detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist, radar cruise control, road sign assist and an emergency stop system that can detect a nonresponsive driver and stop the vehicle safely.
The story of the Land Cruiser was the story of a model whose compact, tough and reliable beginnings were eventually sanded away as it morphed into the luxury family hauler that left the U.S. market three years ago. Toyota hopes the return of this new model, differentiated from Lexus’ offerings, will erase the lackluster sales of the model’s most recent years, when it only sold a few thousand in America. It will be built at Toyota’s plants in Tahara and Hino, Japan, and should be on sale in spring of 2024.